Osage's HTS Review Of...GREEN LANTERN (Blu-ray; Warner Bros./DC) - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 2 Old 10-15-11, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Osage's HTS Review Of...GREEN LANTERN (Blu-ray; Warner Bros./DC)

Releasing Studio: Warner Bros./DC
Disc/Transfer Specifications: 1080p High Definition; 2.40:1; Region 1 (U.S.) Release
Video Codec: MPEG-4 MVC
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Rating: PG-13
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins


Here’s the first thing you will question going into Warner Bros. film adaptation of the legendary DC Comics Green Lantern character – Martin Campbell directed this? Wait – are you serious? The Martin Campbell who resurrected James Bond from the depths of franchise irrelevancy through the awesomely energetic Casino Royale?

Yes, it’s true. Though overtly coated in thick, syrupy swatches of CGI and sometimes too-cartoonish SFX, Campbell has directed this somewhat-long-awaited film adaptation with a relatively steady and even hand, injecting more Thor meets Men in Black overtones than Spider-Man teams up with Iron Man kind of energy, but nonetheless letting diehard fans of the comic down if the heaps of negative criticism Green Lantern has received is anything to go by. In the DC Comics universe, there’s a strange paradox going on with regard to the film advising division of the printing behemoth – for years now, Marvel Studios has been routinely churning out comic adaptation after comic adaptation rather successfully, through their motion picture studios channels (Paramount, Fox, Sony/Columbia etc.) and have brought to the screen iconic names like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Daredevil, The Hulk, Ghost Rider, Thor and recently Captain America. The story isn’t the same on the DC front; Superman Returns is now going into the reboot stage (after that was supposed to be a reboot of the Reeve era films) while Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy will be coming to an end after The Dark Knight Rises. Rumors abound that Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman will meet his end at the conclusion of that film, or left a complete invalid in his battle with the monstrous Bane; if that’s the case, the series will again have to be rebooted by a new filmmaker – odd to me, since the first three pictures in Nolan’s trilogy didn’t really get into any famous, hardcore villains save for Heath Ledger’s Joker. Now, with the poor reception of Green Lantern by filmgoers and critics alike, the DC Comics joint venture with Hollywood is simply not seeing the same success as the Marvel franchises have enjoyed. Add to that the speculations that they’re working on a Justice League response to the upcoming Avengers project by Marvel – yet are still having character issues in these films, in addition to not yet introducing critical members of the Justice League like Flash – and it’s clear to see that the DC character world needs some help.

If you know anything about the Green Lantern lore, you’ll recall his connection and association with the Green Arrow; this isn’t explored in Campbell’s film, but what we do get is a rather liberal application of the comic’s confusing-at-times cosmic mythos with regard to characters and plot. I, for one, had a difficult time understanding the world that Green Lantern occupied until I watched the bonus features on the Blu-ray (I wasn’t a huge fan of the books, but read a few) and even then it was hard to discern just where Campbell used actual characters and where he used creative license to tweak them a bit (a la Jon Favreau in Iron Man 2 with his “Ivan Vanko/Whiplash” creation morphed from different Iron Man villain lore).

The casting was an issue in itself – I said this before, and I’ll say it again: I understand the female preoccupation with Ryan Reynolds and his ridiculously chiseled, almost inhuman perfect physique, and how this a-hole appears onscreen as mere eye candy for anything in a skirt. But most of the time, this guy just doesn’t fit in a role – the most incredible, eye-opening example of this was when he was cast to play “George Lutz” in the G-d-awful remake of The Amityville Horror. This was probably the worst casting mistake in the history of cinema – I’m not exaggerating here – as the real Lutz looked absolutely nothing like Reynolds, save for some facial hair features…further, Reynolds’ portrayal of Lutz was asinine in that Lutz never had a chiseled, six-pack stomach (maybe in his military days, but not during the time he owned the DeFeo Amityville home) and didn’t behave anything like Reynolds’ rendition of him. Melissa George, portraying George’s wife, didn’t look or act anything like Mrs. Lutz either, but that’s for another time. I suppose I could see Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the main character of Green Lantern if I dig deep enough, but this guy’s cocky, arrogant attitude in each and every role he plays just classifies him as a buttwipe in my book. I realize this is a buttwipe that is making many-a-chick’s undergarments a bit...well..."moisturized" with just one glance, and for that I envy him, but I digress…

Okay, let’s get to the meat of it – Green Lantern on the big screen (a pretty big endeavor for Warner Bros. and DC) relies heavily on special effects to tell its story, but is necessary in many aspects, as it’s a story steeped in cosmic mythology; many call it the DC answer to Thor, and that’s an apt description and analogy, but in my opinion it’s a lot more complex than Thor ever was, and you really have to have a keen insight with regard to science fiction to get everything that’s going on here. With much of it based on the comics but tweaked a bit for seasoning by Campbell, the story revolves around the “Green Lantern Corps” which are an intergalactic police force made up of beings from all over the universe, and who boast special powers generated by their green rings they wear, which are subsequently powered by a “force of good.” As I stated earlier, much of Green Lantern will remind you of Men in Black with its alien race oddities, talking CGI creatures and overall vibe; in fact, Green Lantern to me felt more like a Men in Black sequel than a bonafide DC comic adaptation (even though MIB itself is based on likewise publications). In an opening sequence, we get a narration by one of the Lantern Corps’ lead warriors, explaining the world this story takes place in, and how the Lanterns defend the galaxy together. We also witness the warrior being attacked by a giant cloud-creature of some kind, supposedly feeding off the reaction to fear, and this creature ends up attacking and ultimately fatally wounding the warrior. Racing to the depths of outer space, the warrior ends up crashing on Earth, where we meet the mere mortals of the story. Reynolds portrays Hal Jordan, the cocky, arrogant jet fighter pilot working for a private military aircraft company headed by Tim Robbins. In the middle of a test simulation, Jordan experiences a breakdown of sorts and ejects in his parachute before crashing into the ground with his plane. We then meet the absolutely gorgeous love interest of Hal’s, the sensual Blake Lively, who happens to be the daughter of mogul Tim Robbins. Wow – this chick is seriously cute, with a body and smile that would melt an iceberg.

Anyway, Jordan (Reynolds) – exhibiting the same egotistical, self-centered characteristics as Tony Stark, Thor and a number of other iconic characters – ends up being “abducted” in a strange green ball of light, which transports him to the crash site of the alien warrior that has landed on Earth. There, he comes in contact with the dying alien, who hands him a strange green ring and tells him the ring was calling him – apparently, when Green Lanterns are about to meet their demise, they must find a replacement from somewhere in the universe, and these power rings they wear actually seek the replacements out and “know” who the special people are for Lantern Corps recruitment. This warrior’s ring sought out Jordan for some reason on Earth, and once he wears the ring himself and transforms into a green-suited superpower, the Green Lantern mythos really kicks into high gear.

Jordan is eventually “lead” to the home world of the Lantern Corps, through the ring, where his body undergoes a transformation to make him a Lantern – this includes a skin-tight green “skin” costume and special masking that he can turn on or off on his own. He is also taken under the guidance of a strange fish-like alien (which reminded me very much of the aliens of Attack of the Clones or Men in Black) that alerts him of his new “duties” and responsibilities as a new Green Lantern. He’s then put under rigorous physical training by a huge rock-like alien creature (based on a creature in the comics) who forces him to find and develop his new abilities and skills – this includes learning how to manipulate his mind so that anything he thinks of, he can physically create through the power of the green ring. Finally, a master warrior who doesn’t approve of this Earthling becoming a Green Lantern has his way training Jordan, pretty much kicking his behind and taking names. Jordan has had just about enough of this horrendously physical training and the mockery the other Lanterns are making of him, and threatens to walk away to become a mere mortal on Earth again. But the fish-like alien tells him that the ring wouldn’t have chosen him if it wasn’t for a purpose…

Back on Earth, Campbell begins exploring and setting up the “villain” of this comic story, which ends up being Peter Sarsgaard’s performance of a strange, jealous scientist who ends up getting “infected” with alien DNA – supposedly, the government (basically, Tim Robbins’ company) calls Sarsgaard in to look at the body of the alien that crashed to Earth (the one who gave Jordan the green ring) which they have stolen for study and research. Sarsgaard gets drops of the wounded alien’s “blood” on him while in the research facility, and this begins a horrendous transformation as Sarsgaard’s body begins to change systematically as the film progresses. A full-tilt mutation at one point with a massive, throbbing forehead and yellow glowing eyes, the scientist takes his rage and jealously out on everyone around him, thus suggesting the villain aspect of the story – but a lot of this is confusing in that Campbell borrowed heavily from different aspects of the Green Lantern comic run here; it’s only made somewhat clear when you watch the extra features explaining the comic/film connection that there are some differences between how this scientist is involved in the story, and how the strange cloud-like creature that feeds his mind with thoughts, and who is coming to destroy Earth, is also involved. When a benefit dinner at Tim Robbins’ company is interrupted by an attack on him when he’s in a helicopter by Sarsgaard and his newly developed mental powers, we get the first hero/villain battle sequence – Green Lantern shows up to stop the destruction of Robbins’ helicopter by imagining and projecting several mental images that end up stopping the eventual accident. It’s here that the deliciously gorgeous Lively discovers that Jordan is this green suited hero.

Of course, as it always goes with our villains, Sarsgaard’s scientist character gets high on his new powers, and ends up injuring and killing a lot of people at the lab where they first studied the alien – including his father, Tim Robbins. Meanwhile, back on the Lanterns’ home planet, Jordan learns of a terrible plot by this fear-generated creature (who is still controlling the mind of Sarsgaard through the original dead Lantern warrior’s blood – don’t ask; it gets really complicated in areas) who is planning – what else? – the destruction of Earth. While the head Lantern warrior – the iconic red-skinned character of the comics – cannot convince the alien representatives making up a sort of Lantern council to send a team of Lanterns to take out this new threat, it is Jordan who goes before the council and pleads with them to help save his world (Earth). When his pleads go unsatisfied, Jordan makes a decision to face this enemy all by himself, with no backup from any other Lanterns, an attempt to prove to the Lantern Corps that humans are indeed worthy.

And so the final battle sequences are set up in over-the-top CGI setpieces and scenes, portraying Reynolds in his green suit fighting the massive cloud creature that has found its way to Earth and is preparing to annihilate everyone upon it. The sequences are interesting, if not as nail-biting and ultimately engaging as the fight scenes in Spider-Man, Iron Man or even Thor; Jordan flies around the city, battling this massive monster with his green ring and by creating visions in his mind of objects which materialize to fight the entity. The closing set involves our Green Lantern being pursued by the creature into outer space, where Jordan finds a way to harness the power of the sun via his mental powers in order to ultimately destroy this threat. Once back on the Lanterns’ home world, Jordan is recognized as a great warrior by the Corps and even idolized in a certain sense.

As with almost all other comic adaptation films as of late, you need to stay with the end credits, as there’s a scene between them which sets up the inevitable Green Lantern sequel – I won’t give it away, but it involves the head Lantern warrior and his desire to try on a magical ring made of yellow energy…not green. Working with the materials in the extra features on the disc, this plays into a certain Green Lantern splinter story involving a character who eventually becomes Hal Jordan’s enemy, but as I said, these elements were tweaked by Campbell so they don’t follow the comics to the tee.

As a rental, Green Lantern is worth checking out – it wasn’t as horrible as, say, the first Ghost Rider, but I’ll tell you this right now: It was no Batman Begins or Spider-Man, either. Actually, it reminded me very much of the last X Men film, First Class, in that it wasn’t really memorable enough to warrant a purchase. I was immediately smitten when I read about the proposed Justice League project DC and Warner are plotting as an answer to Paramount and Marvel’s Avengers in 2012 – but we still don’t yet have Wonder Woman or The Flash, and we don’t know what’s to be with Batman or even Superman. Green Lantern, as part of the Justice League, would be cool but we may just see a sequel to this first…if at all due to the horrible ratings Green Lantern received.

As for what I took out of it, Green Lantern as helmed by Martin Campbell was a bit too science-y for me, with too much cosmic/alien mythos to enjoy as a comic character film adaptation – of course, much of Thor was dipped in this, but I just don’t think it was as complicated in terms of its elements and execution compared to Lantern. In the end, it felt a bit like a rushed, not-so-polished attempt at bringing an iconic character to the screen like Tim Story’s Fantastic 4 and Rise of the Silver Surfer.


Presented in an ultra-wide 2.40:1 widescreen transfer, the Blu-ray of Green Lantern looked solid for the most part, with the usual suspects showing up best: Facial close-ups, bright green foliage in outdoor scenes, detail and depth in building structures and materials (bricks, pebbles, etc.)…the emerald green coloring on the Lantern suits were punchy but not especially vibrant, most likely a photographic/creative decision. Further, the entire transfer seemed to be bathed in a slightly hazy look, especially in dark sequences; some shots even collapsed into some black crush. The overall effect made the film look extremely small on my 50” display, and by “small” I am referring to the impact and immersiveness exhibited by the 2.40:1 aspect layout – more noticeable on Green Lantern compared to most other Blu-rays I have watched recently, the letterboxing coupled with my viewing distance coupled with the overtly dingy dark shots on the disc made for an unsatisfying experience at times.

In the end, I’ve seen some better 1080p transfers from Warner.


The Master Audio, on the other hand, was fabulous – this is what an action/fantasy soundtrack should be, with rousing, aggressive effects, a loud overall delivery and almost overcooked dynamics. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track accompanying the Green Lantern Blu-ray, almost from the first frame, explodes with constant channel movement and a loud, aggressive nature that I hope for with all action film demos I go into. The bass was on the shy, subtle side (actually nothing really shook my room for the most part) and dialogue was a bit low when reducing the master volume to compensate for the aggressive action sequences – but overall, this was a richly enveloping, forward-sounding mix that should be proud of itself.


I can recommend Green Lantern as a rental, especially for fans of the comic-to-screen adaptations which are all the rage now, and will continue to be especially with projects like The Avengers on the horizon. As for a purchase, this is a tough one; much like Green Hornet and X Men: First Class, I am sure there are fans out there who wanted to buy immediately for their collections. I wasn’t one of them, personally. With films such as Iron Man/Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man franchise, I get multiple playback mileage out of these discs – I just didn’t sense that for Green Lantern or for First Class, for that matter. My wife also didn’t care for Lantern and in fact fell asleep on it.

Thank you, as always, for reading; please post up your comments about Green Lantern as a film or a Blu-ray Disc presentation if you have seen it – I would love to discuss!

Additional Comments/Notes: This review is based on Green Lantern's Theatrical Version, not the Extended Version, which was also available on the disc I sampled -- I didn't get a chance to view the Extended cut.

Last edited by Osage_Winter; 10-15-11 at 07:26 PM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 10-17-11, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,264
Re: Osage's HTS Review Of...GREEN LANTERN (Blu-ray; Warner Bros./DC)

Additional Review Note: I had difficulty loading Green Lantern in my Oppo Blu-ray player, and it caused me to physically need to turn off the player in mid-load cycle and restart; when the disc first went into the drawer, the loadup cycle didn't begin and the player locked up, forcing me to shut down and restart.

Upon restarting, the premenu sequence loaded and the cheesy trailers for the Green Lantern animated series began, thus allowing me eventual access to the setup menu and finally the feature presentation. The lockup was annoying though, and I am questioning whether or not this was an issue with Warner's Blu-ray issuing and authoring of this title, or if it's an issue with my Oppo. I do have the current firmware running in the player, as far as I am aware, but this lockup has happened with several titles already beyond Green Lantern, including 2012.

If anyone else has experienced this issue with Green Lantern, please let me know.
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